Meet Alex Padilla, California’s Next Senator

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[Read the full interview with Dr. Weber.]

As Shawn reported last week, Dr. Weber’s father, a sharecropper in Arkansas who fled racist violence to California, didn’t get a chance to vote until well into his 30s. But once the family was settled in Los Angeles, their living room served as a polling place.

“We knew as kids how important it was to vote, and how significant it was that my dad and mom were denied the right to vote,” Dr. Weber said.

And now, Mr. Newsom has one choice left to round out his historic reshaping of the state’s leadership: He hasn’t chosen a successor to Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

When Shawn talked to Mr. Padilla just before Thanksgiving, he was making pumpkin chili for his family. Now, we have the recipe, from California’s newest senator himself, below:

In a slow cooker, place the following ingredients and let cook for at least 4 hours:

  • 1 to 1.25 pounds seasoned, browned and cubed beef*

  • 2 cups raw pumpkin, cubed

  • ½ onion, diced

  • 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes

  • 1 15-oz can of black beans

  • 1 15-oz can of white beans**

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Salt to taste.

***Optional, but I like to add: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 basil leaf, 2 cloves garlic

*Feel free to try different meats. I’ve made this recipe with chicken, ground beef and even shredded turkey.

** You can use any kind of beans, really. I’ve used spiced black beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, great northern white beans. You can use two cans of the same kind of beans, but I like to use different beans to vary the flavor.

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